Youth tackles future challenges through STEM education

Brussels, 28 May 2020

Today at the first ever virtual Sci-Tech Challenge, a number of innovative solutions were presented to showcase the use of STEM skills in solving a real-life challenge. Two teams of students, from Belgium and Romania, showcased their solution for an energy-efficient and low-emission mobility system for the city winning bid of the 2040 Olympic Games. An audience including Dr. Walter Goetz, Head of Cabinet of European Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean; Philippe Ducom, President ExxonMobil Europe; Karel Lannoo, Chief Executive of CEPS; as well as students and teachers from across Europe discussed how to upscale STEM education and make it more attractive to young people.

Increased focus on STEM-education is more timely than ever: the Covid-19 context has shown the importance of science and innovation in finding solutions to the most pressing global challenges, including health, climate, and energy. Dr. Goetz from the European Commission stated that “STEM will be key to overcome not only the current economic crisis but also to make the European Union fit for the future". Philippe Ducom, President ExxonMobil Europe, added that “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are key to unlocking the innovative solutions we need to address the challenges of today and tomorrow. It is vital that we empower the next generation with the right tools: STEM skills will help them shape our future and reward them with a lifelong spark of excitement”.

CEPS Chief Executive Karel Lannoo called for a key role of science in advising policy-makers, stressing the importance of decisions based on scientific evidence and cost-benefit analysis. Salvatore Nigro, CEO of JA Europe and moderator of the virtual event, highlighted that “businesses, policymakers and the education systems must work together to develop more and better STEM education through partnerships”.

About JA Europe

JA Europe is the largest non-profit in Europe dedicated to preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship. JA Europe is a member of JA Worldwide which for 100 years has delivered hands on, experiential learning in entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy. JA creates pathways for employability, job creation and financial success.

Last school year, the JA network in Europe reached more than 4.2 million young people across 40 countries with the support of 139,000 business volunteers and 143,000 teachers/educators.

About ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil, one of the largest publicly traded international energy companies, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. ExxonMobil holds an industry-leading inventory of resources, is one of the largest refiners and marketers of petroleum products, and its chemical company is one of the largest in the world. To learn more, visit and the Energy Factor Europe, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the Sci-Tech Challenge

The Sci-Tech Challenge is designed to motivate students, aged 15-18, to consider science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-oriented careers, and to raise their awareness of the importance of their STEM skills and how they can be applied in enterprising ways to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. In 2020, more than 1,400 students from Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Romania took part in a year-long programme focussing on combining STEM education with a practical entrepreneurial experience. The joint initiative by JA Europe and ExxonMobil runs for the 11th consecutive year and has involved about 60.000 students from 2010.

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